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Too Good To Go app

The apps helping London be greener

Live your best (green) life in London with the help of these clever apps

By Lucy Lovell
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Nobody said it was easy being green. No matter how strong your intentions, keeping up an ethical lifestyle in London can be difficult – but there are apps that can help. All free and easily downloaded, they’re like a digital angel on your shoulder, offering eco-friendly tips and tools to help you keep up your green promises. 

Whether you’re looking to reduce waste, shop more ethically or reduce your carbon footprint, here are the best apps to help you live your best (green) life.

RECOMMENDED: How to build a green city

The apps helping London be greener

courtesy I Bike London

Bikemap

We love cycling in London, but if you’re new in the saddle then taking to the roads can seem daunting. Apps like Bikemap aim to help cyclists find bike-friendly routes, using crowdsourced data to suggest the best cycle paths through the city. Pro peddlers can also share their favourite routes with others – together with insider info on the traffic, incline and best time to cycle – it’s the right way to stop busy roads from grinding your gears. 

Download here

Too Good to Go food waste app
Too Good to Go food waste app

Olio and Too Good To Go

Roughly one third of food produced in the world goes to waste, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation. If your fruit bowl overfloweth, help to save waste with this nifty food sharing app. List surplus items on Olio before they go bad, and people nearby – such as neighbours and local businesses – can arrange to take it off your hands. Likewise, with Too Good To Go it’s easy to pick up heavily discounted meals from restaurants and hotels that would otherwise go to waste – just pay through the app and arrange to pick up at a time that suits you.

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Giki

If deciphering small print on packaging isn’t your forte, then Giki is going to be your new best friend. Giki has rated more than 280,000 products – from food to cleaning products – against 13 different values, to help you find brands that fit in with your ethos. Scan the barcode and see how many of the 13 different badges have been awarded (if any), including no animal testing, sustainable palm oil and organic. Your weekly shop could get a whole lot greener.

Download here

London traffic
London traffic
Photograph: Flickr/Garry Knight

Drivy

London’s roads are chocka with traffic and while you can’t always avoid using a car, you can help by renting your wheels rather than owning your own motor. Apps such as Drivy are like Airbnb for cars, helping people to rent vehicles as and when they need them. Without a set of wheels on your drive, you might be less inclined to use it to pick up milk from the corner shop, keeping London’s roads clearer.

Download here

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Charity shop generic
Charity shop generic

Swapsy

We all know how Tinder works, right? You swipe left to pass, right to like, and if you both swipe right – it’s ON. It’s similar with Swapsy, but instead of people, you’re swiping clothes. List your un-loved clobber on the app, and if you match with another swapper, you arrange to meet up and exchange unwanted clothes. It’s a sociable way to save clothes from the landfill, and pick up some pre-loved threads along the way. 

Download here

best cafes and coffee shops london, red lion
best cafes and coffee shops london, red lion
© P Langley

The Magic Stamp

There’s nothing loyal about losing your loyalty cards, and it’s certainly not good for the environment to have all these half-stamped bits of card go to waste. Smart new app The Magic Stamp wants to digitalise our loyalty schemes, creating on-screen cards which get digital stamps every time you use them. As well as saving paper from the landfill, the app lets you discover loyalty card deals in nearby cafes and restaurants – hello, free coffees. Download here

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Forest

An app that helps you concentrate AND plants trees? Leaf it out. That’s what we *would* have said before we stumbled upon Forest. Download the app, and every time you want to concentrate, plant a tree. The sapling takes thirty minutes to grow, and if you exit the app before the branches have fully bloomed, the tree will die. It’s supposed to encourage the user to concentrate on what they’re doing, plus the app offers the option to plant real trees with Trees For The Future. Download here

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